Systematic Looting

In an undercover sting, Sears' auto-repair service gets nailed

FOR YEARS, SEARS ROEBUCK & CO. HAS BILLED ITSELF THE place "where America shops." Last week the giant retailer's $3 billion automobile-repair division was branded a place where Americans are being systematically robbed. After an 18-month investigation, the California department of consumer affairs charged that nearly half of Sears' 72 auto-service centers in the state routinely overcharge customers an average $223 for repairs, and that Sears mechanics also billed undercover agents for work that was never done. Spurred by a 50% increase in consumer complaints against Sears auto shops over the past three years, say California officials, they began a probe...

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